The Epic vs. Apple trial may have started over a disagreement about Apple’s revenue share and how it was impacting Fortnite, but the early days of the trial have already made it clear that these proceedings are going to bring a lot of strange facts about both companies to the surface.
As Epic and Apple release everything from email chains to internal reports, gamers everywhere are being treated to a rare look at the inner workings of two companies that tend to keep things pretty close to the chest. In fact, it seems that both sides may have revealed more than intended as supposedly sealed documents have been unsealed and revealed to the public as part of the trial.
So, from Snake Plissken skins to Walmart’s gaming plans, here are the strangest facts we’ve learned from the Epic vs. Apple Fortnite trial so far.
The Rock, Samus Aran, Snake Plissken, and More Are Coming to Fortnite (Probably)
Among the many things revealed by leaked internal Epic documents is a loose kind of confirmation Epic doesn’t intend to stop adding bizarre crossover characters to Fortnite anytime soon. In fact, documents that have been disclosed so far seemingly reveal that the following celebrities and characters may be coming to Fornite in some capacity:
- Samus Aran
- Naruto Uzumaki
- Lebron James
- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
- Katniss Everdeen
- The Bride (Kill Bill)
- John McClane
- Snake Plissken
- Lady Gaga
- Ariana Grande
It’s pretty clear that some of those characters will be added to the game as skins, but the Lebron James crossover might actually tie into a special Fortnite basketball mode vaguely hinted at by other documents. As for Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, it seems that the hope is that they will perform in-game concerts or participate in a similar promotion. As always, though, all of these plans and details are subject to change.
Fortnite Made $9 Billion in Two Years
Maybe this isn’t technically a “strange” bit of news, but if you’re wondering just how successful Fortnite is, just know that it reportedly generated over $9 billion from the beginning of 2018 to the end of 2019.
To put that already incredible number in perspective, it appears that Epic Games generated $108 million from their other games during that same period. If it wasn’t already clear, Epic Games is pretty much Fortnite at this point from a revenue perspective.
The Epic Game Store is Far From Profitable
The Epic Games Store has certainly disrupted the PC gaming scene, but documents and emails reveal that it is not yet profitable for Epic and isn’t expected to be profitable until around 2024.
That’s not uncommon for new ventures (especially ones of that size), but what is a little surprising is how much money Epic is spending on the Epic Store in the meantime. In 2020, they spent $444 million on exclusivity deals alone. While gamers did spend $700 million on the Epic Store in 2020, only $265 million of that came from third-party games.
Tim Cook to Tim Sweeney: I Don’t Even Know Who You Are
In 2015, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney sent an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook in which he asked Cook to consider “separating iOS App Store curation from compliance review and app distribution.” In retrospect, it was a prelude to the issues that would lead to Epic and Apple going to court.
However, the biggest takeaway from this email has to be the fact that Cook forwarded it internally along with the question: “Is this the guy that was at one of our rehearsals?” Granted, this was before Epic even released Fortnite, but that’s still pretty cold/funny.
Epic Had to Apologize To Ubisoft For Stunning Fraud Figures
In 2019, Epic upgraded the Epic Store’s security system with long-overdue verification options. While such security upgrades were inevitable, it seems that their release at that time may have been partially prompted by the fact that some games on the Epic Store were suffering from a significant number of fraudulent transactions.
No game was hit quite so hard by fraudulent transactions as The Division 2. At one point, it seems that over 70% of Division 2 purchases on the Epic Games Store were made with stolen credit cards and other compromised information. That level of fraud prompted Tim Sweeney to send an email to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot in which he explained just how unusual that figure was and stated that “the fault in this situation is entirely Epic’s.”
Tim Sweeney May Not Own a PS5
Aside from a hilarious moment when Tim Sweeney was asked to identify next-gen consoles, the most interesting next-gen revelation to come from the early days of this trial is the reveal that Tim Sweeney apparently doesn’t have a PS5 at home.
Now, Sweeney did say that he has a PS5 at the office, but it’s not clear if that’s his personal model or just a work unit. Still, it’s kind of funny to think that even Epic’s CEO has struggled to find a PS5 for personal use.
Epic Asked Xbox to Enable Free Multiplayer Ahead of the Trial
Recently, the Xbox team announced that you will no longer need an Xbox Live Gold subscription to play select free-to-play games. It’s a big win for many Xbox gamers, but some say this move should have happened a while ago.
In fact, it seems that Epic tried to push the Xbox team to make a similar move ahead of the start of the Epic/Apple trial. The wording of their request strongly suggests that they hoped such a decision would make Apple look bad by showing how easy it was to play Fortnite on consoles rather than mobile devices.
PlayStation Can Charge Epic for Cross-Platform Play
The PlayStation team was always hesitant to enable cross-play on PlayStation platforms, but they seemingly finally tore down that wall in 2018 when they opened up cross-play options for various developers and games.
However, Epic’s documents seem to reveal that the Fortnite studio (and possibly other developers) have to pay the PlayStation team extra royalties if it’s discovered that cross-play is costing them a certain amount of revenue or playtime. Again, it’s not clear how or if this deal is enforced with other studios, but it just goes to show how hesitant Sony was to just enable crossplay across the board.
The PS4 is Responsible for More Fortnite Revenue Than Any Other Platform
While Fortnite is clearly popular across all available platforms (including mobile), Epic’s internal reports confirm that the PS4 is by far the most popular Fortnite platform from a revenue perspective.
In fact, the PS4 accounts for 46.8% of Fortnite revenue. That’s compared to just 27.5% on Xbox, 9.6% on PC, and only 7% on iOS devices (prior to the game’s Apple Store delisting). That would certainly help explain why Sony is so insistent on getting their full cut.
Walmart Wants to Start a Cloud Gaming Service
While the Epic/Apple lawsuit was expected to include a few secrets from both companies, it seems that the leaks won’t be limited to those two parties.
For instance, a 2019 email from Epic Games co-founder Mark Rein seemingly confirms that Walmart is working on a cloud gaming service called Project Storm. While Rein said he’s tried the service and was impressed by it, it’s not entirely clear whether or not Walmart is still working on Project Storm and if or when they intend to reveal and release it.